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Progressive Rock Interviews

Han Uil

Interviewed by Gary Hill
Interview with Han Uil from 2016
Can you catch the readers up on the history of your involvement in music?
Pretty soon after I started playing guitar at age 15 I bought a four-track tape recorder and started writing and recording lots of songs. A lot of these songs and recordings sucked big time, but it was a good foundation for what I do now. I started playing in some alternative rock bands and ended up in the progressive rock scene where I’m mostly known for my work in the bands Antares, Seven Day Hunt (formerly Egdon Heath) and TumbleTown. Meanwhile, I also released three solo albums Alone (2006), Dark in Light (2010) and Lawless Local Heroes (2015).
If you weren't involved in music what do you think you'd be doing?
I would be listening to and exploring music a lot more than I do now...and playing more Battlefield
Who would you see as your musical influences?
The first CD I bought at age ten was an Elvis compilation of movie songs. Also saw a lot of his movies at that age. Later I became a big fan of Dire Straits, Neil Young and Dylan. I also started exploring a lot of progressive rock acts like Peter Hammill, Jethro Tull and King Crimson. If I should mention one name that I’m most obsessed with it would be Bob Dylan.
What's ahead for you?
We’ve just decided to do another TumbleTown album. This is a studio project I put together with my friend Aldo Adema (Seven Day Hunt, Egdon Heath). In 2013 we released our debut album Done with the Coldness on Freia Music which was well received in the prog scene. A lot of guests appeared on this album like Erik Laan (Silhouette) and Marcel Copini (Egdon Heath). Our new album will also feature familiar and unfamiliar guests and musically it will be another step forward. 
I know artists hate to have their music pigeonholed or labeled, but how would you describe your music?
I’m a bit schizo that way. One week I might write a bluesy Americana style tune, the other week maybe a ten-minute progressive rock piece. I’ve collected the more straight bluesy rock songs and released them on my latest solo album Lawless Local Heroes. And right now we’re very busy in finishing the more progressive rock songs for a new TumbleTown album. So I guess it depends on the record in how to describe my music.  
Are there musicians with whom you would like to play with in the future?
The last decade I’ve been focusing mainly on studio projects, and it has been a long time since I’ve played live. But I’d very much like to play live with all of the excellent guest musicians that appeared on my albums throughout the years. But right now we have plans to play some live gigs with TumbleTown. So there’s a big chance my wish will come true!
Do you think that illegal downloading or streaming of music is a help or hindrance to the careers of musicians?
I guess it's a bit of both. It’s a great way to discover new artists, but also a way to “forget” to pay the artists for their work once you’ve downloaded and like their album. All artists see a decline in album sales, but some gather a larger live audience to compensate that a bit. For a studio artist like me it’s a different story. For me personally, it is no issue. I’m in it for the love of music and not for a career or money. I can afford to finance a solo record once a while. It would be nice though if the sales would cover the costs. 
In a related question, how do you feel about fans recording shows and trading them or posting them online?
I used to be a collector of Neil Young and Jethro Tull bootlegs in the good ole tape trading days. This is just the modern version. I see no harm in that.
If you were a superhero, what music person would be your arch nemesis and why?
I’m all peace and love. No nemesis for me.
If you were to put together your ultimate band (a band you'd like to hear or catch live), who would be in it and why?
I would have a band with Bob Dylan, Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen singing harmonies. I cannot imagine a more heavenly choir. Furthermore Ian Anderson playing one legged flute solos shredded by a grungy Neil Young on guitar. Both are among the most impressive instrumentalists in my opinion. All backed up by Neil Peart on drums and Tony Levin on bass playing all kinds of weird time signatures.  
If you were in charge of assembling a music festival and wanted it to be the ultimate one from your point of view who would be playing?
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Marillion, Van der Graaf Generator, King Crimson and Bob Dylan
What was the last CD you bought and/or what have you been listening to lately?
Latest album I bought was Matthew Parmenter - All Our Yesterdays
I’ve been listening to Bowie a lot lately. Not because of his passing but I became a late fan since The Next Day. So there’s a lot for me to explore in his back catalogue.
Have you read any good books lately?
I’m not really a book reader. If I read something it’s mostly biographies. So I bought two books by Neil Young Waging Heavy Peace and Special Deluxe. Still have to finish them though.
What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?
Bob Dylan concert in the Royal Albert Hall. I had the cheaper choir seats. It was a great gig with Dylan’s best vocal performance I had witnessed live yet. 
Do you have a musical “guilty pleasure?”
I kinda like Chris de Burgh and Neil Diamond.
What has been your biggest Spinal Tap moment?
Don’t know if it’s a Spinal Tap moment, but I played a solo gig once for an audience

It was on art festival where I played four short 15 minute shows in a shipping container. Really nice acoustics, by the way. Fortunately at the final show the container was full. Contact me again in a couple of years for hopefully some real Spinal Tap moments with TumbleTown.

If you could sit down to dinner with any three people, living or dead, for food and conversation, with whom would you be dining?
Jesus, Don van Vliet and Albert Einstein
What would be on the menu?
Wine, fish and bread.
Are there any closing thoughts you would like to get out there?
When you watch the credits, you have only seen the edits.

Well, that was just partly me.

MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 2 at
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